C’River North By-election: Stakeholders Demand Immediate Inauguration of Jarigbe

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By Bassey Inyang

Political stakeholders in Cross River State have asked the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, to immediately inaugurate Hon. John Agom Jarigbe as the senator representing the northern senatorial district of the state.

The stakeholders raised the alarm yesterday over the delay in swearing in Jarigbe despite court ruling in his favour as having won the December 5, 2020, by-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and despite being issued a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Aside from calling on the Senate president to swear in Jarigbe without further delay, the stakeholders want him to stop Dr. Stephen Odey, who is currently occupying the position, from attending plenary, saying it is illegal for him to do that.

Their demand was coming about six weeks after Supreme Court on February 25, 2021, in a case with suit No: SC.9/2021, between Dr. Stephen Adi Odey and Chief John Agom Jarigbe and the INEC struck out the appeal filed by Odey.

Coordinators of the Northern Senatorial District Youth Renaissance Assembly (SSDYRA) and the Movement for the Restoration of Cross River PDP (MFTROCR), Emmanuel Agba, and Raymond Takom respectively, who are among the stakeholders, said it was inappropriate for the Senate president to continue to allow Odey to attend plenary while declining to swear in Jarigbe, who they said actually won the election as declared by the courts and INEC.

They insist that justice must be done totally by swearing in Jarigbe as the authentic senator, having been declared so by the Supreme Court.

Kicking against the delay in swearing in Jarigbe, the Coordinator of SSDYRA, Agba, said it was high time the National Assembly leadership waded into the constitutional crisis rocking the Upper Chamber, wondering “why the Senate president should sit on a judgment of the Supreme Court with regard to Jarigbe versus Odey which went in favour of the former.”

Expressing dismay at the turn of events, the Coordinator of MFTROCR, Takom, said if care was not taken, PDP may lose out to the All Progressives Congress (APC), which he said was gradually mobilising and re-strategising.